28 ways to lose your driver’s license
You don’t have to commit a moving violation to have your driver’s license suspended. Some of these nondriving infractions may surprise you.
Read original article by Aaron Crowe here.
A common punishment
Losing your driver’s license for speeding or some other traffic violation is bad enough. But how about a suspension because you bounced a check, littered or had an unpaid student loan?
In fact, there are dozens of ways to lose your driver’s license without ever committing a moving violation. We’ve compiled 28 of the more surprising offenses here.
Use of driver’s license suspensions to punish other kinds of offenses is becoming more common, according to a 2012 draft report by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators. The group says the practice dilutes the power of safety-related laws and is costly to administer.
A license suspended for nondriving reasons is a minor offense for many insurance companies if fees and fines are quickly paid and the license reinstated. You may lose only your safe-driver discount. A long-term suspension, however, could lead to cancellation or nonrenewal — and that will make your next insurance policy much more expensive.
1. Advocating overthrow of government
New York: It’s against federal law to advocate overthrowing the U.S. government, and is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000. New York takes it a step further, allowing the state to suspend a driver’s license for the crime.
2. Operating amusement park ride while intoxicated
3. Boating while intoxicated
Texas: Called a BWI or BUI, boating under the influence, with a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or higher, is illegal. The penalties are the same as for driving a car while drunk: a fine, jail time or a suspended license. Police don’t need probable cause for a stop or sobriety tests.
4. Bouncing a check
Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana and Minnesota, among others: In these states, passing a bad check can lead to losing a driver’s license. The license of U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) was suspended briefly after he bounced a check for his driver’s license renewal fee in 2010.
5. Failing to pay child support
Every state: This became the first nondriving offense linked to a driver’s license in 1975, when Congress established a program to ensure that noncustodial parents financially support their children. It’s the one penalty that the AAMVA says actually works, increasing child support payments in some states.
6. Failing to pay alimony
Nebraska: While the rest of the country goes after child support payments, Nebraska is the only state that will suspend a license if an ex-spouse doesn’t get the alimony payment on time.
7. Failing to pay parking violations
Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Rhode Island: The AAMVA suggests alternatives to driver’s license suspensions, such as garnisheeing wages to get people to pay parking tickets. Chicago, for example, collected more than $15 million in the first five years of a program by garnisheeing the wages of city employees with unpaid parking tickets and water bills.
8. Failing to pay tolls
Illinois and Maine: Illinois suspends the licenses of drivers who skip paying tolls five or more times, while Maine will give an indefinite suspension until the fine is paid for one turnpike toll evasion.
9. Failing to submit to a genetic test
Florida: The Sunshine State gave out 486 such suspensions in 2010 to people who failed to show up for court-ordered genetic testing for child-support cases.
10. Flying while intoxicated
Texas: A drunken pilot could lose driving privileges for between 90 days and two years. No suspensions were issued in 2010.
11. Fuel piracy/theft
More than a dozen states, including Arizona, California, Oregon, Texas and Pennsylvania: A conviction for stealing gas in Oregon is a serious enough offense that you could lose your license for up to six months.
12. Littering from a motor vehicle
Arizona and Oregon: These states may take away your driving privileges if you toss something out of the car.
13. Minor using false ID to purchase alcohol
Indiana, Michigan, New York, Texas, Vermont and others: In these states, using a fake ID to buy beer (or other alcoholic beverages) could mean a license suspension. And if you don’t yet have a driver’s license, it could be a while longer before you get one.
14. Open container possession by a passenger
Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and New Mexico: Since a bottle of beer can easily be passed from a passenger to a driver, these states make it illegal for a nondriver to have one. In Illinois, the first conviction results in a six-month license suspension.
15. Prostitution/solicitation/failure to appear at john school
California and Florida: Prostitutes and their customers can lose their driver’s licenses in these states. Both states prevent soliciting a prostitute from a car, and California will also suspend if solicitation happens within 1,000 feet of a house.
16. Public intoxication/consumption
Iowa and Texas: This applies to juveniles in Iowa, where there were no such violations in 2010. Texas, however, had 1,194 suspensions for public intoxication in 2010, with the law applying to all ages
17. Tow truck driver graft
California: If you ever wanted to offer a tip to a tow truck driver for getting your car out of storage, don’t do it in California. The tow truck driver could be convicted of receiving a gratuity and would lose his or her driver’s license for at least four months.
18. Leaving a child unattended in a running auto
Washington: Although no one was cited in 2010, this irresponsible act can result in a one-year license suspension in the Evergreen State.
19. Unpaid college/student loan
Iowa and Montana: Iowa issued 150 suspensions in 2010 to students who hadn’t paid their college loans.
20. Unruly child/juvenile suspension
Ohio: The Buckeye State cracks down on drivers with children who drop out of school or bring weapons to school, and in 2010 it suspended 656 licenses of drivers whose children were determined by a court to be unruly.
21.Vandalism and graffiti
California, Florida and Texas: Texas and Florida suspend the licenses of vandals for one year, while California suspends for two years. If a convicted vandal is too young to have a driver’s license, California will delay the issuance of a license for up to three years from the date he or she is eligible to drive.
22. Altering/defacing signs or signals
South Carolina: If you willfully deface, knock down or otherwise mess with road signs, railroad signs or traffic signals in South Carolina, you could lose five years of your driving life. There’s a $1,000 fine, too.
23. Dispensing gas to a dirt bike
Maryland: No unregistered motorcycle, scooter or ATV may be refueled at a retail gas pump, an effort to combat unruly dirt-bike gangs. According to the Baltimore Sun, police are forbidden to chase them
24. Handicap space/placard violation
Arkansas, Illinois: Fraudulent display of a permit will cost you in Illinois, and a second parking-lot violation brings suspension in Arkansas.
25. Parental withdrawal
Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Vermont: A parent or guardian has to sign a permission slip allowing a minor children to drive. They can withdraw permission, too.
26. Providing false information to law enforcement
Michigan: Incorrect information given during a traffic stop or after an injury-causing accident will bring a license suspension with no possibility of a hardship appeal in Michigan. The National Cooperative Highway Research Program estimates about three-quarters of suspended drivers continue to drive anyway.
27. Use of a vehicle to distribute tobacco
Ontario and Quebec: A pack of cigarettes costs nearly twice as much in Canada as in the United States, so two provinces punish drivers who smuggle tobacco with up to a six-month license suspension on a first offense.
28. Weapon/threat in school
Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Virginia: Eight states penalize those who phone in a bomb threat or bring a weapon to school grounds.
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